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  • There are two important, indeed, fundamental questions

  • you have to answer in life.

  • The first is, is there a God? Specifically a moral and judging creator.

  • The second is, are people

  • basically good? Your answer to the second question

  • will shape just about all of your moral social and political views

  • even more than whether you believe in God.

  • That's why a believer and an atheist who have the same views about human nature

  • almost always have the same social

  • and political views. Let me give you some examples.

  • You've probably heard the phrase "poverty causes crime."

  • If you believe that people are basically good, you are likely to believe that

  • poverty

  • or bigotry or some other outside force

  • causes people to commit violent crime. That's the only way you can make sense

  • of the fact that some people commit crimes

  • despite their basically good nature. Something drove them to it.

  • But if you don't believe people are basically good, you're far more likely to

  • blame the criminals themselves

  • not outside forces for their actions.

  • One more example. In a society where it is believed that people are basically good

  • parents and society don't devote great efforts

  • toward making good people. After all, if we're born good

  • why do you have to teach goodness? On the other hand

  • those who don't believe we are born all that good understand that parents and

  • society

  • have to undertake major efforts to make children

  • into good adults.

  • Okay then, are people basically good? As I will show given humanities history

  • the answer should be obvious. Of course human nature

  • isn't basically good. Now this doesn't mean that people are basically bad,

  • we are born with real potential to do good, but we are not

  • basically good. Take babies. Babies are lovable

  • and innocent but they're not good, they're entirely self-centered

  • as they have to be in order to survive. "I want mommy,"

  • "I want milk," "I want to be held," "I want to be comforted,"

  • and if you do not do all these things immediately I will ruin your life.

  • That's not goodness, that's narcissism.

  • We are born narcissists.

  • preoccupied with number one, ourselves.

  • And if you've ever worked with kids you know how cruel, how bullying they can be.

  • And don't parents have to tell their child tens of thousands of times

  • "Say thank you."

  • Now why is that? If we're naturally good wouldn't feeling and expressing gratitude come naturally?

  • And then there is the historical record.

  • Evils, huge evils,

  • affecting much of the human race have been the norm.

  • Here goes, just a few examples.

  • The Ottoman Turks targeted millions of Armenian Christians

  • for death during World War I.

  • The German Nazi regime murdered 6 million Jews, two out of every three European Jews

  • including more than a million children and babies.

  • The Soviet Communist regime slaughtered about 5 million Ukrainians

  • and about 25 million other innocents. The Chinese Communists killed about 70 million Chinese

  • and enslaved the rest of the Chinese people.

  • The North Korean Communist regime has built what one can only call

  • the world's largest concentration camp. Most of North Korea.

  • in postcolonial Congo in the decade between 1998 and 2008

  • over five million people were murdered

  • and tens if not hundreds of thousands of women raped.

  • Of course before that,

  • about 10 million Africans were kidnapped and made slaves in the European slave trade

  • and another 10 to 18 million Africans were enslaved

  • by Arab slave traders.

  • And let me ask you this, if people are basically good why does every civilization have so many laws

  • to control human behavior?

  • Knowing all this, those who believe that people are basically good have simply

  • made a decision to believe that

  • and ignore all the evidence.

  • Why do people commit evil? Because it's easy to,

  • because it's tempting to, and yes

  • because it often accords with human nature.

  • That is why figuring out how to make good people

  • is the single most important project in all of human life.

  • But first you have to believe it's necessary.

  • I'm Dennis Prager.

  • Join Prager University: subscribe to our YouTube channel

  • and sign up for free at PragerU.com

There are two important, indeed, fundamental questions

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Are People Born Good?

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    Sh, Gang (Aaron) posted on 2016/09/16
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